Out city councilman Corey Johnson is the first person with HIV elected speaker of the New York City Council, the second most powerful office in city government after the mayor. You may remember him as the city councilman who was arrested after protesting the GOP healthcare bill in Washington, D.C., over the summer.
“We believe in New York, where no one is targeted simply because of who they are — Muslim New Yorkers, immigrants, the undocumented, African-Americans, Jewish New Yorkers, transgender New Yorkers,” the 35-year-old said in a speech he gave after the vote. “We must reject hate in all its forms and stand united against bigotry and racism.”
Johnson continued, “There has never been a more important time to ensure that our city has a strong, unified and independent council to take on these challenges. I know that with the immense talent, wisdom and experience of this body, we will prevail.”
“We have one mission,” he says: “to better the lives of our constituents, who, day and night, place their trust in us to represent their interests and advocate for their needs. We must not and will not forget who sent us here.”
Corey Johnson has represented the Council’s 3rd District — which includes Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea and West Village neighborhoods — since 2014. He succeeded former Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2013.
From Massachusetts, Johnson came out in 2000 when he was captain of his high school football team. For a time, he was the political director at the blog Towleroad.
He first ran for NYC Council in 2013, winning with 86% of the vote. As of December 2016, he’s passed 18 pieces of legislation. Most of his policies focus on rent regulation, tenant protection and helping New Yorkers with HIV and AIDS, as well as other various LGBTQ rights.
Former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito proceeded Johnson. She tweeted, “Congratulations/ Felicidades Corey on your election as Speaker. No higher honor than to serve our wonderful NYC alongside dedicated colleagues. Te deseo lo mejor / I wish you the best in this new phase of your career. Pa’lante.”